THE STORY OF EMILY KNOWLES

Founded in 1974

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At birth, Emily Knowles was given an artist’s heart. But with an artist’s heart came the stereotypical anxiety, insecurity, and inability to speak in most social situations. She was painfully shy and constantly felt the need to hide. 


After school and on family vacations, she found safe places between the tip of a pencil and the white of a page, but some days drawing wasn’t enough. When she could not sketch her emotions, she filled in the lines of her journals with thousands of words that became love stories and ghost stories, and fairy tales that never came to a close. No matter the kind of page, on its surface, she never feared being seen.


Thankfully, her parents recognized her fragile heart. Her mother, a musician and a writer, brought her to the local art store frequently, where Emily was allowed to choose whatever she wanted. Her father, a woodworker, built her first easel. 

Painting did not come easy. There was something about it she feared.

In college, she chose to be an art major, but it became apparent she was not trained or talented. In her 2D design class, her professor told her she was not good enough; the main complaint, she did not have an eye for color. (Later, she found out she was slightly colorblind, another story for another time.) So, she dropped out of school, and started on a journey to find herself. 

On a solo hiking trip through the Green Mountains of Vermont, she realized she had to face her fears in order to live the life she wanted. Keep in mind, this wasn’t like clicking her heels, and all came into focus. The process was long, and at times, heart breakingly difficult.

After two decades of teaching reading and writing, she took a watercolor class, a safe way to start painting. She enjoyed the medium, but she knew oil painting, the expensive and complicated choice, was her true desire. It took many more years before she would finally become and oil painter. 

When that day finally arrived, it was love at first touch. As soon as she brushed the paint onto the canvas, she was reunited with a part of her heart. 

Emily will always be a student of the arts. She has come to realize that creating is a means to release the love that fills ones heart, and to do so, fills her with tremendous joy. Emily hopes her art will fill others’ with that same feeling, for in those moments, one can live inside a safe place encircled with hope, love, and happiness.